KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi completes his first year in office today with his biggest challenge ahead being the need to change the mindset of the people in implementing projects and decisions.
The Prime Minister said much hard work lay ahead, especially in expediting the execution of development programmes that he had promised Malaysians when taking office.
He also said he wanted to see meaningful co-operation among Malaysians and the recognition that “we all actually have one destiny”.
“Changes in mindset and attitude are very important matters.
“If attitudes do not change, work procedures do not change. Then what we want to implement will not be successful,” he said.
“For example, I plan to turn agriculture into a very important programme, involving lots of Malays in the rural area. It has to do with creating new wealth resources as additional income.
“At the same time, it could help the poor by making them more dynamic.
“This needs a change of mindset, a change of attitude, readiness to face challenges.
“This is the most difficult,” he said in an interview with TV3 in conjunction with his 365 days in office.
Abdullah said he anticipated a heavier workload in his second year in office.
“There’ll be more work. There has never been less work. It’s because I will be entering the second year (of office).
“I cannot merely start (something) and then give up the responsibility. How can I suddenly shirk the responsibility entrusted upon me?
“We all need to work together: I hold steadfastly to the philosophy of leading by example.
Since his appointment as Prime Minister on Oct 31 last year, Abdullah has given his attention to improving the Government’s delivery system, creating an ethical society and rooting out corruption besides enhancing Malaysia’s ties with other countries.
On the difficulties he faced in making decisions, Abdullah said he had to focus on the country’s economic deficit.
“If the economic deficit is not managed well, their (the foreigners) rating or evaluation of me and our economy will not be good because there would be speculation,” he said, adding that it would affect foreign investment.
However, Abdullah said the 2005 Budget received high rating and was dubbed a realistic budget by foreign investors and businessmen.
Abdullah said he also wanted to see Malaysians maintain solidarity and cooperation through mutual understanding.
“Unity is important, otherwise all the successes we have achieved today will vanish one day,” he added.
On the country’s future, the Prime Minister said many challenges would come from outside because Malaysia was getting more developed with its growing economy, which was dependent very much on external factors.
On the workload that cost him many late nights at his office, Abdullah said he did not like to bring office problems home.
“And I don’t like to talk about my problems when I get home and converse with my wife.”
To a question, Abdullah said he drew strength from prayer.
“I take some time with my dawn prayers.
“Sometimes, if I have problems, that’s the only way I seek solace and gain confidence to make a decision. Alhamdulillah (All Praise to God), everything has worked out fine.”
At a function in Kepala Batas yesterday, Abdullah said he had not forgotten the promises he had made to the people on the implementation of projects.
“When I took office I started in gear one and now I am moving into gear two and three.
“People have been asking when I will implement some of the projects and how many more projects are coming up.
“I have not forgotten,” he said after presenting goodies to the needy at the Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia building.
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